Friday, December 4, 2009

The Big Squishy, and The FU! (ice cream without the ice and hold the cream)

This time of year I'm always looking for desserts that are easily prepared, can be whipped up in a dash when unexpected guests come by and are low, low, low in calories. During the holiday season it's always easier and lot more fun to say "sure, why not?" with gusto rather than, "well, ok...just a bite" with overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Another thing I look for at this time of year is something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to trot out to the hungry hordes. It was many many years ago Grasshopper, that I discovered The Persimmon.
Persimmons are the national fruit of Japan cultivated widely in Asia and in the hilly parts of northern India. They are also all over the place this time of year here where I live in Sonoma, Northern California. They also go perfectly with a hot and spicy Indian meal providing a cool sweet finish.
For those of you who many be unfamiliar with them, there are two main types of persimmon the round flat tomato shaped Fuyu persimmon, and the heart shaped Hachiya, otherwise known in the romantic language of science as the astringent and the non astringent, or as they're known around our house, The Big Squishy and the FU. The one I'm dealing with today is The Big Squishy.

In order to enjoy the Big Squishy properly it has to be fully ripened, soft, yielding and bursting with sweet gooey deliciousness.Excuse me while I take a moment. There.
Best eaten with a spoon and a drop cloth, it is not for those who fear The Messy.
Right now the trees in Sonoma county are heavy with both types of persimmon and one can get three persimmons for 99 cents or cheaper at the farmers markets, or from neighbors selling them from their yards. So why not take advantage? Why not make Big Squishy Ice Cream?
But, you may say. I have no Ice Cream Machine? Doesn't one need an Ice Cream Machine to make ice cream??? Not Big Squishy Ice Cream.

First of all, find yourself a nice big squishy persimmon , a Hachiya to be precise. When the persimmon is frozen solid, (usually after a day or so in the freezer) take it out and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Watch your thumbs, cause these babies are cold!

After the persimmons are peeled, chunk them up into pieces.

When the persimmons have been chunked, place them into a food processor or blender with about 1/4 cup of buttermilk. You might also try cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, soy milk, coconut milk etc. Anything for that creamy blend. I have to tell you here that I never add sugar to this. Very ripe persimmons are extremely sweet, but judge for yourself if you feel the persimmon ice cream is too tart or astringent add away, but be light about it.
Turn your processor on and give it a few buzzes till it's nice and creamy but still semi other cream!

You can serve it immediately in which case it is full of dreamy creamy persimmony wonderfulness.

Or, you can chill it and eat it later for a firmer consistency.

There you go, fast, cheap and easy! Everyone will think you are some kind of genius since you manged to pull this off so quickly. Figure on 1 persimmon per helping. I've even been known to whizz this one up after a working lunch and eat it right out of the bowl. I do however take the whirling blade out first. Stay classy Kathy!


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